“Being a gearhead has gifted me with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. In moments of tragedy, they’ve been there for me like family. With great success, they were there to celebrate. Annual car meets end up being family reunions. It’s a great comfort to know that aside from the build advice and racing techniques, we all still have a lot in common and enjoy each others’ company. There are no doubts in my mind that these people will be a part of our lives for years to come.”
[bd] I like to think any gearhead – whether completely inexperienced or master builder/racer – if he or she is personable enough, can tap the power of the global community and enjoy benefits such as you guys did with your move. The difference between struggling to find connections to tap when the chips are down and the cavalry coming to rescue you within an hour is a function of immersion. You and Justin are clearly immersed in the scene. Can you shed a little light on just how much of your lives revolve around automotive people and pursuits? How much time do you spend with gearheads? What do you do other than car stuff with them?
[jg] Justin and I actually met through cars and being gearheads. I was at a car meet with my DSM when this guy with an Evo rolled up. At that time, it was rare to find someone on our platform in a world full of Hondas and Subarus, so we looked over each other’s cars and connected because we both spoke the “language of 4g63.” Here we are, years later, married and living the Cali life. It’s a scenario many people dream of living, and I’m grateful to have met someone who shares the love of being a gearhead.
As previously mentioned, being deep in the car community affected our move across the country, but its also a big reason we ended up in California in the first place. When Justin’s time for orders came up, we were given several options of places to go. Our cars and our hobbies were a big reason we ended up where we did, and we’ve since dedicated the next 4 years of our life to this place because it supports our love for turning wrenches.
I want to say at least 99% of my friends were either met through a car event or a parts exchange, and they’ve evolved into becoming big parts of our daily lives. Outside of track days and car meets, our need for speed causes us to take frequent trips to 6 Flags, go-kart racing, of course. I flew to Pittsburgh last October to see the Bruins play against the Penguins because Jus (the genius that builds my turbos as well as a very close friend) and I have rival hockey teams.
We recently drove out to Las Vegas and hit the casino with some long time car friends (and of course discussed what cars we would buy if we won big, haha). For those of us who sharing the irresponsibility of being non-parents, there have been many occasions where the guy with the softest suspension ends up being the designated driver because it decreases the possibility of someone puking on the way home.
Being a gearhead has gifted me with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. In moments of tragedy, they’ve been there for me like family. With great success, they were there to celebrate. Annual car meets end up being family reunions. It’s a great comfort to know that aside from the build advice and racing techniques, we all still have a lot in common and enjoy each others’ company. There are no doubts in my mind that these people will be a part of our lives for years to come.
[bd] There’s a certain nobility in building things. You’ve torn it apart, rebuilt it better than it was before, and just listen to it purr. There’s no room for interpretation of the results – it either does what you want or it doesn’t. Either way, you can see it, hear it, touch it, feel it. It’s a tangible accomplishment; a reflection of your effort and abilities. How do all these tangible vehicle success stories affect who you are and what you want out of life? How do you see building high performance machines as a way to build high performance lives?
[jg] Let me go ahead and disclose that I am not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent or raise a child. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of work that entails every day. Having many friends with kids, I’ve always felt like the person left outside of a joke when someone talks about the pride they feel when their kid accomplishes something. Walking, talking, writing their name… until I started my car after her first big “surgery.”
Her 7-bolt block had spun a rod bearing, and I seized the opportunity to do the 6-bolt swap along with some other goodies. It was the first time I had completely gutted the engine bay. I dissected everything, eliminated some things, relocated others. Replaced and upgraded a majority of what I took apart. As someone who was building their first car, it was a little scary.
As much confidence as I carry every day, I was worried that one wrong wire, or one misplaced bolt, could make or break me. After every sensor, bolt, and clamp had been checked, double checked, and checked again… she started. The tick of freshly bled lifters and the whine of an idle screw being turned in too much, I experienced the joy of a baby’s first cry. After she got up to operating temperature, I put her into first gear and put the smallest bit of pressure on the gas pedal for her to roll forward out of the garage… baby’s first steps.
I have no shame in admitting I shed a few tears after seeing her move under her own power. I kept thinking “I built that. I did it. I tore it apart and put it together and my hands are responsible for the power this machine is going to achieve.” (That was right before she made 492hp on the DynoJet in Miami, Florida.) I finally had an idea of what a parent felt like after creating life.
Building cars has taught me more about life than anything else I’ve ever experienced. You want to build it right the first time. You want it to be consistent and reliable. I mentioned in my original feature on Gearbox that overcoming obstacles in building a car is a great way to teach you that things don’t always come as easy as you would hope in life. It teaches you patience and discipline. You need to have confidence that you can achieve your goals, but most importantly, nothing worth having is easily acquired.
That’s how I look at life. I’m a huge believer in “actions speak louder than words.” Too many people waste their time saying things rather than doing things. I wanted a 500 horsepower daily driven car. I built one. I wanted to drive across the country. I did it. I wanted to be able to afford my hobbies and live comfortably, so I got a job that allowed me to do that without sacrificing my free time (despite growing up hearing that I would never know happiness unless I got a college degree).
While my way of living may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I have everything I want out of life right now. I won’t say that some knowledge about compression or torque patterns is the sole reason for that, but I don’t know how my life would have ended up without it.
THE MACHINES BRING US TOGETHER
But the people we meet who share our gearhead passion keep us together. What do YOU do with your gearhead friends aside from turn wrenches and racing? Leave us a comment, below. If you’re not subscribed, you know you can get this stuff via email for free, right?